According to Bleacher Report, the NBA reportedly sent out a memo informing teams that they should begin preparing to hold games with only “essential staff,” and no fans. Marc Stein of the New York Times provided further details on social media.
“Postponing or canceling any game due to the coronavirus is a league office decision but the NBA, sources say, has notified teams to start ‘developing’ contingency plans in case ‘it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present’ — no fans, media, etc,” Stein wrote. “Among the measures that the NBA wants its teams to start preparing for is the possibility --- if the situation worsens --- for instituting ‘temperature checks’ on various players, team staff members, referees and anyone else deemed ‘essential’ to stage a game in such conditions.”
LeBron James, however, says he won’t be playing if there aren’t any fans in the arena. “Me play games without the fans?” he began when asked about the preventative actions being taken. “Nah, it’s impossible. I ain’t playing. If I ain’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for. I play for my teammates, I play for the fans, that’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans in there, I ain’t playing.”
The Los Angeles Laker added, “They can do what they wanna do.”
A number of NBA team executives told USA Today Sports that they have considered holding games in empty arenas, as a worst case scenario option, to prevent the potential spreading of the virus.
“More than 300 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., while more than 100,000 cases have been reported worldwide,” The Hill reports.
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